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Iconic Exhibit Between Two Continents: Global Lessons of Mandela and Parks
Winnie and Nelson Mandela meet Rosa Parks in Detroit. Nelson Mandela, who was recently released from a South African prison, is touring the United States. June 28, 1990.
DETROIT, MI.- Attorney and Collector Gregory J. Reed, Esq. is selected to join forces with Nelson Mandela’s Museum in South Africa to present the first historical exhibit shared between two continents. The project is entitled Global Lessons: “Dear Mrs. Parks, Dear Mr. Mandela Children’s Letters.” The children’s letters focus on the wisdom of Mandela and include many of Parks’ responses to the letters regarding courage, hope, faith, love, living with God, the power of one, education, health, AIDS, crime in society and more. Mrs. Parks’ and Mr. Mandela responses provide “Global Lessons” on the guidance and positive change needed to initiate the healing of our society and to create long-lasting effects for future generations.

Gregory J. Reed has been designated by Michigan State University to be the guest curator with MSU Museum and Nelson Mandela’s Museum in South Africa, to present the first exhibit collaboration merging two independent iconic exhibits. The exhibit will be presented in July 2008 at Nelson Mandela’s 90th birthday celebration in South Africa. Reed will visit South Africa on two occasions to aid the Mandela Museum in launching the exhibit.

Michigan State University is now in the process of developing the exhibition entitled Global Lessons: “Dear Mrs. Parks, Dear Mr. Mandela Children’s Letters.” Mr. Reed initially conceptualized presenting an exhibit to the MSU Museum, which focused solely on Mrs. Parks’ letters. With the expanded concept featuring letters to Mandela, it is anticipated that the exhibit will help to eliminate cultural differences and expand communication between the two continents.

The exhibit project shall exceed parameters of “We Are the World” relief project in Africa. Global lessons will be emphasized to address health issues common to both continents.

The initial funding is provided by the AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF MUSEUMS and by MUSEUM AND COMMUNITY COLLABORATION ABROAD. The MSU Museum and the Nelson Mandela Museum will use the collections of letters written to these two champions of human rights to develop a portable touring exhibition targeted at school-aged children and entitled Global Lessons: “Dear Mrs. Parks, Dear Mr. Mandela Children's Letters”. Local schoolchildren will be encouraged to write new letters to their own heroes who embody the values of Mr. Mandela and Ms. Parks. These letters will be posted on the virtual version of the exhibition and added to the exhibition at each venue. Additionally, a CD-ROM of traditional and new music from each nation will be commissioned to accompany the exhibition.

In addition, a documentary of the exhibits is being commissioned for Global Lessons for present and future generation to learn from Rosa Parks’ and Nelson Mandela’s core values. Mr. Reed is also in collaboration with the Detroit Public Schools in getting the children involved in this project in a t-shirt and poster contests are being implemented in December 2007 for Detroit School students. The winners of the project designs will be on display in South Africa alone with this exhibition.

Mr. Reed is the author of 12 award-winning books and is the founder of “Keeper of the Word Foundation” in Detroit. “Keeper of The Word Foundation” loans many other exhibits to various venues, including “The Journey: The Mother, The Movement, The King and Now”, premiered at MSU, “100 Plus One…“Before Motown and Beyond, Celebrating America’s Music,” and set an attendance record of 200,000 visitors at DuSable Museum in Chicago. Reed is also recognized as a major contributor to the “National Treasures” exhibit at Walt Disney, displaying Americans who have overcome major obstacles such as Rosa Parks, Abraham Lincoln and others whose contributions have changed the course of our nation.

The Parks and Mandela exhibition initially will initially be presented at the MSU Museum in Lansing, the Nelson Mandela Museum in South Africa, and selected cities in America and Africa.



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